A Few of My Favorite Things

  • God and all that goes with Him
  • Time Spent With Family
  • Bedtime Prayers
  • Family/Group Hugs
  • The Beach
  • Good Friends
  • Good Music
  • Laughter

Friday, November 26, 2010

A time of soul searching.

I must admit that I have not been the easiest person to live with for the last 2 months (and those who knew before the headache might even agree for the last 11 years). I've been frustrated, hurt, at times lonely, and there is always my constant companion pain. My sweet family has listened to me spend time trying to figure out just what I need to do so I can be happier with myself and those around me. I have spent much time in prayer and have worked at remembering that if the devil already has you, he doesn't keep coming back for you.
So, all of that said...I've decided to pray that God will help me not to judge those who judge me. This is a tough one for me,I do care what others think of me and I do want to have people in my home. I'm a strong believer in that if you want to be a soul winner you have to be willing to expose your own soul. Yet with the way the headache works, there are days when it takes everything I have to convince myself to get out of bed and do school. One most days, if you come to see me, you'll see laundry on the laundry couch(BTW those clothes are clean), dirty socks scattered about the floor,a pile of dishes in the kitchen sink, and very often a pile of laundry waist deep in front of the washing machine. I would hate to see just how that pile would be if there were more than just 3 of us. We happen to be a family that organizes by stacks (that could be clothes, mail, and school) and as long as we don't move each others stack we can find what we need quickly :). I have to say that I DO NOT want this to be the way I keep my home. But, all those clothes and dishes will still be there (and when we get desperate they do get cleaned up)but the precious time God has given me with Samuel being "little" will be short lived and I would much rather devote my "feel good" time to him. It is an effort some days to talk (I know this is hard to believe because I can definitely rattle on forever) and to even be nice. I ask myself is what I'm getting frustrated over something that needs correction or is it JUST the headache making me feel like it's a big deal. So, anyway, if you come to see me (and I hope that you will)... don't expect an emasculate house where everything has a place and everything is in it's place, but come and see me and not the clutter, allow me to go to the kitchen and get you a drink (I promise I do have clean glasses and when I don't we have plastic) but please don't follow me to the kitchen sink. Once upon a time a was a very good housekeeper, but bending over to pick up clothes and toys and the clanking of dishes in the sink don't miss well with the headache.
So, I'm praying for contentment for where I am in all those things. I'm praying that I will accept that my house, my life, and my body size will not keep me from the plan Christ has for me even when I'm not happy with me. I'm praying that the blessings that come with the headache will be more evident and I'm praying that the Father will renew a right spirit within in.
What joy we have to look forward to! Don't you know that our home in heaven will be self cleaning, pain free, and filled with those we love who have gone before. How blessed we are to know that we have so much to look forward to. May God grant you happiness and peace during the holiday season and for those of you who are grieving and missing sweet faces at your table may God bring you comfort.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sister Wives

The headache has spent the last 5 days raging, so I didn't make the trip home to see mama and daddy this weekend plus I missed out on the chance to hear some great bluegrass. However, whining about what I didn't get to to do is not the reason for this post. Since I've had the house to myself, I've been the one in control of the remote :). Last night,I watched an evening filled with Sister Wives on TLC. Needless to say, it's gotten in my head and I can't seem to let some of it go. As I watched these three women (and then later 4)work their way in a polygamist marriage, I couldn't help but think back to the old testament. I thought of Abraham,Jacob, David, Solomon etc. These men all encountered more trouble in their families from having multiple wives. We read and we see that God took their poor choices and used them for good in many cases,but it did not prevent the turmoil in the household. I was thinking about Leah and Rachel and how they bartered for a night with Jacob over some fruit. But I digress, what strikes me is the pain that you see in the eyes of these women. They've learned to love one another and accept the "lifestyle" they've chosen,but when it comes time to "share" their husband in my view there is a sadness in their eyes.
I guess I felt more of a connection with Meri in the show, we both are about the same age and she is a woman who longs for many children and yet has only one of her own. Through this marriage she has gained a houseful of children,yet my heart brakes for her. It is literally like watching Rachel deal with Jacob and his other wives. Jacob loves her "best" yet she still had to share him with three other women and deal with the fact that she only had one son. Yes, she has Benjamin but she never sees her two sons together. I can only imagine the anguish she felt as her "sister wives" continued to bear children and she was left with the longing in her heart for more.
I've watched other documentaries that deal with polygamy and one of the things they bring up is the way many Americans have multiple wives they just do it one at a time. They talk of how the way they do things is better for them and the children. They talk of the security found in having other women to depend on and the security for the children raised in the home. It all gets back to God's plan for marriage, a plan he set up from the very beginning (Gen. 2:20-24)We mess things up when we deviate from God's plan. God didn't allow Abraham and Sarah to help him provide a child through which the world would be blessed. He did not accept Hagar's son Ishmael. When God gives us a pattern, we must follow it.
The last thing I can't seem to get past is just how much fun Kody (the husband) seemed to be having. Yes, he has to deal with 4 women's raging hormones but ultimately he gets to have his cake and eat it too. Sin is fun! Let me say that one more time SIN IS FUN!! It's obvious Kody is having a good time, and all the extra "yuck" you have to deal with in a marriage, he can choose to deal with only every fourth night. I can only imagine how often one of his wives forgoes talking about something that may be bothering her because she doesn't want to spoil her night in the rotation. O.K., I'm going to end this post and move on,but ladies let's remember that God made us our husband's helpmate. He developed a plan and instructs our husbands to love us as He loves the church. Looking at it this way, when we begin looking at God's word and picking and choosing what we like and how we'll worship, then we create another "bride". But that is not how scripture reads! It speaks of THE church. One bride not many!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Special People

One of the advantages of growing up in a small congregation is how close you get to the people you worship with. They are family. I think sometimes in our rush to move through our Sunday afternoon and to get our babies home and to bed on Wednesday night, we lose sight that this is our opprotunity to catch up with our spiritual family. A time to celebrate even the small and big things that go on during the week and the opprotunity to comfort and encourage those whose week has been a tough one.
I found out this morning that one of the sweet men where I grew up passed away last night. He was blessed to have had his family around him and felt well enough earlier in the week to talk and visit with them.(After losing my sister and cousin, the day we spent together before their death is a treasure and a comfort. It was God's gift to us.) I'm prayerful this family will find comfort in those special moments, that it will draw them closer together and closer to God.
This sweet man always found a way to encourage my sweetheart. He would brag on him when he would lead singing (which as a teen was a scary thing for him). He would always give him a sweet pat on the back when we made trips home too. He gave such good hugs and wanted to know how I was. He and his sweet wife took care of the flowers for our wedding, and they made our family feel apart of theirs.
I can say that about so many families at home. It's been hard to watch that congregation slowly grow smaller and smaller.
I guess I just wanted to take the time to remember the joy of standing on the front steps after worship for 30 minutes to an hour just catching up with each other. We loved one another and we knew when someone was missing. Looking back, I wish I had made more of an effort to contact those who missed. It's a lesson to take forward and work on from this point on.
I hope and pray when my life here is ended that people will be able to remember me with fondness. To remember an encourager and a soul that empathisizes with others. I pray I'm one of those special people that hearts will ache over as my heart aches for this special family today. May God bring us comfort.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grandparent's Day

I've been blessed to have gotten to know 3 of my great-grandparents and both sets of grandparents. Since this is a day that has been chosen to honor grandparents, I thought I'd share my favorite memory(ies) for each.
Great-Grandma Garrett is just a vague memory for me because I was so young the last time I saw her. In fact, most of what I remember is probably stories I've heard told. I know that she loved to hold and rock my cousin Matthew, but the memory I have of her is a parrot. If I remember right, his cage was beside the door and when I would come to the house the parrot would say "Go away Sam, go away". LOL,it's a funny memory to me, but I also remember feeling love and welcomed in her home. Great-Grandpa Garrett, I have many more memories of he was the town dentist for a long time and I think as a small child I have memories of going to his office in Robertsdale. Everytime we went to see him, you'd get a hug and a dollar. Oh, how that dollar would burn a whole in our pockets before we could leave :) I can remember sitting and listening to the story telling between the grown ups on those visits. Once again, the feeling of being loved and welcomed was the overriding feeling of those visits. Great-Grandpa Patterson lived in Texas and my memories of him always seem to revolve around a wing back chair. He'd sit in his chair and the grandchildren and great grandchildren would take turns visiting with him. I felt a connection with him because I knew I was supposed to be Sam Justin(that was the name mama and daddy picked out to honor both great grandfathers, and I turned out to be a Samantha Kay). But one of the things aside from remembering him as being frail is that his Bible was never to far from his side.
I loved to get up early with daddy when I was little and make the trip out to the truck stop for breakfast on Saturday mornings. I'd ussually find Grandma Dean sitting in her chair behind the counter and her sweet hugs and being pulled close are memories that still warm my heart. My favorite memory is of her putting all of us grandkids in the car (back before we had to have car seats or seatbelts) and riding down the road to just over the FL line. Shealways rode with the window down and hummed the same song as she drove. We'd get to where we were going and we'd all get a snack and a coke and head back to the truck stop. My memories of Grandpa Dean make me laugh now, but there was a time we ran to get out of his reach when we were playing(and yes that ussually meant spininng incircles on the bar stools which we knew was a major no-no). My favorite memory of him though is after I got old enough to ask my sweetheart to take me out to visit. I loved the feel of his scratchy old beard as I'd reach around his neck to give him a hug and a kiss. He liked to act all gruff but those work worn hands would reach up and grab my arms and give me a good squeeze back and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was loved. In fact,love is the overflowing memory through all these memories :)
When we'd go to visit Grandmama and Granddaddy Lyles, I can remember waiting to here the floor squeak the sliding door to her bedroom open. Grandmama would be getting up to make breakfast. I loved that time of morning with everyone else asleep but me and her. She'd let me help cut out biscuits and listen to whatever story I had to tell that morning. Grandpa Lyles was in my mind one of the most humble people I've ever met. I loved to hear him pray and can remember peeeking to watch him talk as he prayed(sometimes it would be hard to hear). I love to hear Garrett pray now because so often he reminds me of Granddaddy. But, my favorite memory of Grandpa Lyles is having a tea party with him, a babydoll, and a teddy bear. Marshmellows and tea were served and he would sit in a little bitty chair and talk and eat with me and our guests.
There are soo many more precious memories of all these sweet people that I hold close, and I'm soo thankful that God gave me the opprotunity to know each one. I'm thankful that my Samuel has such sweet grandparents. Feeling blessed and loved by the special love that comes from spending time with those who realize just how important the little moments are. May God bless you this Lord's day. Love to all..Samantha

Monday, August 30, 2010

What Does Satan Look Like?

I've had this post rolling around in my head for about 3 weeks now and couldn't quite figure out just how I wanted to tackle it. So here goes and I pray that in the midst of my run-on sentences we both can take something from this that will help us in our daily battle.
Wouldn't it be great if every time the devil tried to interfere in our life we would get that clear picture presented by the cartoons:Red costume, horns and a pitch fork. Or even a flashing sign that just says warning would be nice. But that's not how he presents himself in our lives. Sometimes he's that really good looking guy in the magazine ad,or the beautiful buxom blond selling dish washing liquid. Those are still pretty easy to read into,but what about the ones that aren't so easy. The really sweet guy/girl in class whose willing to help with homework and invites you to a party that sounds like a lot of fun. In my case, it was the sweetest guy who poured himself into the tightest jeans ever(before spandex)and "rescued" me from a house full of little sisters and a brother. My sweetheart is by no means the devil but (the devil) would find us when instead of going straight home from the movies we'd find a spot to park and fog up the windows.
As we get older and Lord willing our faith becomes stronger, the deception Satan uses gets trickier. Do we lay every bad thing that happens to us at the feet of God and question why we have to suffer. Somewhere along the line it was Satan that brought suffering. I have spent too much of the last 11 years laying the blame and anger over my headache at the feet of God and not Satan.
Do I recognize that the pain sky rockets on Sunday and Wednesday when I want to go to worship. Do I recognize that I allow him to allow myself to say it's OK not to do "x" I'm not good enough anyway.
So what does Satan look like? Pain,fun,love,an excuse, or maybe time spent doing things that we have no business doing. We know that he moves to and fro seeking those he can devour. So let's put our armor on Eph.6:10-20, and go out and fight the enemy realizing he won't always be easy to spot and many times we may see an easier way to deal with our problems just to see we're buried even deeper in the mess. So, Let's get out our swords of the Spirit and our shield of faith and fight the deceiver and let's recognize it's not a battle we fight alone but one that if we continue to fight we know we will win!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mama, Daddy, and My Sweetheart

Well it's been forever since I've taken the time to write. I totally intended to have a special post for both Mother's Day and Father's Day, but once again the battle with chronic pain has slowed me way down. Where we come from can be a blessing, a crutch, or an excuse for our behavior. I have to say my past and present are filled with three very special people who continually help to shape my life.
Mama and Daddy...two words that just in the saying of them hold so much love and emotion that I could stop there and feel like I've said it all. Mama has to be one of the most patient and Godly women I've ever known. She's raised four faithful children, taught us how to pray and see God in both the little and big things, not to mention her creativity in keeping three very busy sets of hands occupied while also dealing with an infant. Contests were held and (as I remember) encouraged to see who could stand on their head the longest in the corner, who could jump up and down the longest, who could jump rope the longest,ect. Mama seemed to always be able to find a way to keep us busy;and bless her heart, when we found ways to keep ourselves busy (many wonderful adventures that led to trouble :) )she got her switch out and used it. We are who we are today because of her love for us and our friends. Mama always seemed to love whoever we loved. I'm so thankful for that, we could bring friends home and she loved them just as she loved us.
Daddy spent a lot of my childhood on the road,but always found a way to celebrate the special things that he missed when he got home. Special trips for icecream or a special date just with him to a nice "grown up" restraunt, not to mention trips to get coffee and the opprotunity to plan out your future on a Waffle House napkin. He rarely gives himself enough credit in his walk with Christ and the example he put before us. He struggles, as we all do, with his own set of temptations, but watching him struggle and continue to try has been a lesson all in itself. Daddy has never tried to present himself as perfect and for that reason I have seen that the Christian walk is not an easy one but one that is begun anew each day. There's comfort in seeing him with his open Bible on the arm of his chair, to listen of him talk of King David, and his encouragement to my baby to study the Proverbs to find wisdom. I am blessed!
God sent me my sweetheart the summer I turned 14. He's joked over the years that if you want a good wife, you raise her the way you want her. Well, I can't say I've always been the most cooperative student, but I do know that we've grown up in the Lord together. We faught all the temptations that all teens fight when your dating and IN LOVE. We helped each other overcome the heartaches and disappointments that come with growing up, and his steady as you go attitude has often been my anchor in the storms of life. His encouragement to hang in there and to find the answers both spiritually and physically have been amongst God's greatest gifts. I could also spend forever talking about the wonderful daddy he is. His tender heart, yet firm voice tell my baby how much he's loved and just as much how he is expected to behave.
I have been blessed with Mama, Daddy and a husband who in their own ways have shown me the love of my heavenly father. I never doubted God loves me. I've always been surrounded by love. What an important job we have as parents! We are our children's first look at the love of God!
There's so much more I could say about all three of these special people. Their example as we moved through the loss of my sister and cousin is still a wonder. There is no fear in death, but a deep desire for heaven. Each one of them has played such a special part in that! As we live with the sorrow of our personal loss, because of the influence of Mama, Daddy, and my sweetheart; I continue living this life with a joy that is eternal and a hope that is everlasting. Truly I am blessed!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sticks and Stones

You know the old saying "Sticks and Stones may break my bones,BUT words will never hurt me". It's a saying that as we get older we realize that though the first part is true,the second half of that statement is as false as false can be. It's something we've worked very hard to teach our little man...O be careful little mouth what you say, for the Father up above is looking down with love so be careful little mouth what you say. By no means is this a lesson we have finished teaching him (or ourselves for that matter) but he does have a tender heart and for the most part tries not to hurt the feelings of others. But I'm rambling,I felt the need to write this morning because I now know that when someone says something ugly to your child it hurts them but it also hurts you.

Last night someone hurt my baby's feelings,calling him names. My sweet boy has the beautiful Asian eyes and hair of his birth mother. The very first time I saw him, I looked into his sweet brown eyes and fell hopelessly in love. A night that had been full of fun and music, with a few cruel words changed all that fun to sadness. I know that part of growing up is successfully learning how to deal with the ugliness of this world while still being apart of the good that God intends for us to share. But I have to say, we all sat and cried last night. Words do hurt!! I must be aware that the things I say and the attitudes I have teach my son! I must make sure that I make a clear difference in not liking the actions of people and NOT disliking the person. Children notice differences in one another, but attitudes are taught. This applies across the board whether it's size,shape,color, finical status, or those with special abilities. What I say..or don't say teaches my son how I view the world. I can teach that attitudes are wrong, yet love the person who had them. Christ showed his love for the Samaritan woman, the rich young ruler, the tax collector, and the lepers etc. of his day. He taught strongly against sin, but loved the sinner. I have to make sure that this is what I teach my sweet boy. (I don't succeed at it always,in fact, I told him anyone who calls him names is stupid. I should have said the words are stupid and uncaring. Words hurt!...and I now know words said to our children hurt mommies just as much as they hurt our little ones)

So...Be careful little mouth what you say,, for the Father up above is looking down with love,so be careful little mouth what you say!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Just thinking

I have way to much time to spend inside my head,and for those closest to me that can be something that is a little scary. With the time spent at home because to often getting out with my boys as often as I want would cause more pain issues down the road. So, I sit at home and do the the unthinkable and think. The last 2 months have been rough ones,but especially the last 3 weeks. What a blessing it is to have friends, magazine articles, songs, and most importantly God's word that God uses at just the right time to help me get over the "yuck" the devil provides with the why and dealing with pain. Truly we serve an awesome God!

The waiting gets old in a hurry! Waiting for results from tests, waiting for times when the pain will ease off and give me enough of a break to be able to feel some what normal, and the waiting for my boys to get home so that I'm not alone with just the thoughts in my head.

I feel like this is a whining session, and I do hate to do that. But I did say up front that this would be a therapeutic tool for me too. So if you're looking for a Pollyanna attitude this morning, stop reading now and know I understand and love ya anyway.

One of the things I've come to terms with lately (or I'm trying to come to terms with) is that I'm not in control. Let me say that again,I'M NOT IN CONTROL! God is! I've spent so much time in prayer and know that friends and family spend time in prayer for me, yet the headache is still an unwelcome member of our family. There have been those over the last 11 years who have believed and alluded to that this is just all in my head (and it is but not the way they think). There have been those who have believed that it is my way of seeking attention (and it's not). But getting back to my not being in control, I've had/have to accept that though I believe that God is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving... it doesn't change the fact that there is pain and suffering and death in this old world. The hard part is not placing the blame for those things at the feet of God while knowing that if He chose to He could change it. I must admit to placing the blame in the wrong place at times, and while in the midst of prayer confessing that I believe that God take this headache now and knowing in full faith that it is within His power to do so...want to know the why for what we've gone through. I know that all pain and suffering are works of the devil and brought into this world by sin. It may or may not be my own sin that causes the pain and loss experienced over the years, but sin is it's root cause. It is not the cause of my Heavenly Father but of the devil who walks to and fro on this earth like a roaring lion seeking those whom he may devour. I must realize that it is not a lack of faith (and yes, there are times when I'm not on track or I allow myself to doubt my own faith) but it could very well be the strength of my faith that brings the troubles and trials into my life.

If the devil has me, then he wouldn't need to work so hard to get me. Now that sounds vain and puffed up, but I promise there is no vanity there. It is a battle, a war that it fought sometimes from moment to moment. I've come to notice over the years that my highest pain days tend to be Sunday and Wednesday, or when I soo want to get out and do something "good". I know we can't say the devil made me do it, and that with every temptation we are provided a way of escape. Well sometimes that escape is harder to find than others! I have three days out of a week that I'm "allowed" something to take for the pain on top of my preventatives. I pick Sunday and Wednesday as two of those days. Do I always when the battle with the increase in pain, no but I'm striving to win the war. Pray with me that I win the war. At the onset of the headache, I had a doctor who would give me pain meds for every day of the week. Withdrawal is as close to hell as I ever want to come, it's an awful experience. If hell is even close to that (and I know it will be worse), I have only a desire for heaven!

Well, I've definitely spent more than my allotted time on the computer today, and more than enough time bending your ears. One of the things I meant to emphasize when I sat down here this morning is how God sends us help through the waiting if we will only keep our eyes and ears open. This week He sent me my mama and daddy, Christian Women magazine loaded full of articles dealing with waiting,pain,and comfort. He also has sent me sweet FB friends with posts of encouragement, laughter, and love. He's given me my two boys, who strengthen me and allow me to feel needed when at times I feel very isolated. He's also sent me some time with a friend spent in the sunshine. So beyond a doubt, I can say what the Psalmists and many writers of the Old Testament said, God is good, His love endures forever!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gotcha Day Celebrated

Seven years ago today, I woke up with butterflies in my stomach and joy in my heart! Today is the anniversary of the day my little man became legally a part of our forever family. We both took off the whole day from work and tried to sleep in, but the excitement was just too great! Today was the day, that little bit of anxiety, that little bit of fear would be lifted from our shoulders and our little man would be ours.

I can't explain why there was still the fear and anxiety that took up a small portion of my heart, but it did. And today the lawyers, judge, and state would finally have their final say so...and my boy would be mine. The joy in that and the relief is one of those "major" blessings that come in life. (I so don't want to take a way from the sacrifice his birth mother made for us, because she's a part of our forever family too. But back then, our love for her was/is without measure but we didn't know her like we do now.) Today was one of those days when not only the sunshine was shining in our lives but the Son was shining in our lives! His love and care for us were felt that day just as warm as the hot Alabama sun!

We had both sets of grandparents traveling to be with us and our quick lunch was eaten (and of course spilled on the dress I planned to wear, for those who know my family this was not a surprise it seems to be a genetic occurrence). So what I planned to wear, was quickly changed and cars were loaded and we made the trip to the lawyers office. We met one of those precious people there that helped us get from wanting to adopt to this special day, and were walked through what would happen when we were in the court room.

The joy and laughter that we shared with our social workers and parents in the waiting room is a precious memory. My little guy had just begun to pull up and cruise the furniture. He totally enjoyed being the center of attention (one of the things that hasn't changed over the years) and crawled, cruised from person to person. The love and blessings of those moments are beyond words.

It wasn't long and we were called into the courtroom and my sweetheart and I sat up front with the lawyer, and I have to admit I was so nervous that there are parts of the precedings I don't remember. I do remember being so nervous that when the judge asked me my address that it took me a few moments to remember it. And I definitely remember him asking me, "Do you promise to take this child as your own, to love and care for him, and provide for him?" The "I do" I answered with was the same "I do" I answered with on my wedding day. An "I do" so filled with joy that tears streamed down my face. I have to admit that the next thing I remember was the judge banging the gavel and making him ours forever.

Pictures with all those very special people were taken and hugs and kisses to grandmas and grandpas given. My little man had never had any real sweets before that day, he tasted his first taste of ice cream as he sat in my daddy's lap. Ice cream is how our family celebrates big and small things. Needless to say, he totally enjoyed that first taste of ice cream and we enjoyed watching him eat it.

Tonight we'll have ice cream, and if my little man has his way it'll be DQ. We also make a habit of getting a family game. He's chosen one this year that we'll have to order. But he's been able to talk mama and daddy into the Toy Story soldier Lego's. (I'm a big Toy Story fan,but that's a story for another day.) Love to all.

I've worked hard at keeping names out of my post because I don't want to intrude on the privacy of our birth mother, but please take time to check out Agape. The work the do is a precious one, and one that is a blessing to all the lives it touches. Our social workers are a part of our forever family too. Both here and Lord willing, the eternal one to come!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Time of Joy and Anxiety

This time of year always takes me back to September of 2002. It was a time spent bouncing between being full of joy and then filled with anxiety. We were in the time of knowing that we might have a baby coming into our home or our wait could be longer. One of the happiest moments of my life was just a "normal" Tuesday evening in the midst of grading papers, going through the mail, and actually watching some TV with my sweetheart (every other night of our week was filled with church, dojo time, or music). The phone rang and my sweetheart answered the phone. The way he began talking I knew this was no ordinary phone call. I remember sitting in the floor barely able to contain myself and when he said our social workers name, if you could pop with a hundred and one emotions going on, I would have popped that evening. After talking for a while (I'm sure it felt longer than it was), my sweetheart handed me the phone. Some of the most precious words I've ever heard were spoken. "How would you like to meet your birthmother and how do you feel about having a little boy?" The excitement contained in those few words are indescribable.

We made plans to meet her withher social worker and ours. Everyone involved is now in our hearts a part of our forever family. Only a few people knew where we were headed that day. After losing my sister, we couldn't bear the thought of mama and daddy having to deal with the grief that might come with the birthmother changing her mind. The meeting was a precious gift and a dinner with her and her mother another sweet set of memories to share with my little man.

The end of September and the beginning of October were an emotional roller coaster ride. I spent my extra time finishing the painting and decorating the nursery; not to mention writing lesson plans and getting things ready for a sub. Our little man came about 3 weeks early. His birthmother was dealing with a kidney infection along with his tossing and turning. Love her heart, getting here early was a good thing... he weighed just over 7 lbs and was 21 inches long. His little back was still covered with little black hair, and that's how he became our Pooh Bear!

We were blessed by his birthmother's decison to allow us to be there the day he was born. The portayal in movies of anxious father's pacing the waiting room is now a very real picture for us. We were able to see him 45 minutes after delivery. He was so bright eyed and alert. The nurses were still in the process of doing their job, so we were just able to look and talk to him. God's gift to me was as the nurse asked me to move from one side of his crib to the other, he followed me with his eyes. That gift made the waiting so much easier. He was born on a Tuesday and we brought him home on a Friday. We didn't get to see him in between times because his birthmother wanted that time for herself. I'm so glad she did. He never has to wonder why he was put up for adoption and why didn't she want me. He knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was wanted and loved by so many people. He knows that he was loved so much that his birthmother wanted him to have a home she was unable to provide at the time. And he knows that mama and daddy had been praying for him since the beginning. He knows that he was chosen and loved by soo many.

This memory always comes back in full strength every Mother's Day. These first steps to getting to celebrate that day are precious to me. It's also a special time because Mother's Day and Gotcha Day fall so closely together. May 13 is our Gotcha Day. The day the law made my little man officially a part of our forever family, and Lord willing my head will feel well enough to share that story on that special day. Lot's of love to all and prayers for God richest blessings on all those who play a special part in the lives of children everywhere.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Time of Reflection

Wow, time seems to move so quickly. In our family, the months since January have gone by in a blur! We've had a snow day, My sweetheart is working on building his own fiddle. He's now coaching machine pitch baseball because our little man begged him to. We've made the trip to LtL convention and came home edified and exhausted. What an encouragement it is to see so many people fired up for the Lord and working for His glory throughout the year! All the shouting and rejoicing was a little piece of heaven! And just think in heaven, I'll actually be able to chime in celebrating and participating in all the fun. The bank account is past low,but the house is full of love. Our needs are met and I have a roof over my head. I may hurt all day, but the ones who love me are close or could get here quickly. So what I'm saying is I AM BLESSED!!
It doesn't matter that my head hurts all the time and that many days all I want to do is bury that head under pillows and not come out. God has granted me with what I need. That actually includes my meds, and though my boys may not always like the restrictions the headache places on family outings, they've come to accept them in stride and we move on. I do truly recognize the blessing in their understanding. In my trips to the headache clinics we're required to attend group therapy. In one of those sessions there were 30 women present (migraines statistically affect women more than men), out of that 30 only 3 of us were still with the mate we started the headache with. I'm so thankful for my stubborn, mule headed,knight in shining armor! It's that determination that has kept him in this battle with me, and who has taught my little man that just because mama can't always get out doesn't mean she doesn't want to.
Can you tell that I started this blog about 2 weeks ago and then I've had to let it sit?! The headache has been ugly, but what a blessing it is to have older women in my life who fight the battle with chronic pain and to hear their encouraging words.
You'll make it through this
. I'm so thankful that God brought us to the place we're in at the time He did. Our church family, though relatively small has more women who deal with chronic pain than any other congregation we've been a part of before. It's a wonderful thing to have that support system in place! I am blessed!!
My little man has had his fair share of accomplishments since January too. He's made the all A honor roll, he's done everything for LtL that he personally planned to do, and even won first place at Piggly Wiggly in a coloring contest and now has a giant blue fuzzy bunny to join the rest of the stuffed zoo in his room. He's enjoyed a nice long chat with his birth mother over the phone (who probably now knows more than she wants to about a certain video game :) )He is so strong and so is she! I pray I'm listening to all he has to say as attentively as I should; so that, I filter out all the verbiage and catch all the messages he's sending me from his heart. It seems that those things that are the most important to him get thrown into the mix with discussions concerning Lego's, star wars, or Toon Town. Yet once again I have to say, I AM BLESSED! May you have a blessed day too.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Time of Wanting

Last time I added to my blog, I gave our reasons for adoption. But, I guess the biggest reason is the one that is so hard to talk (write) about. It's that deep down desire an ache to hold and love and cherish a child of your own. When I say of your own here I don't mean biologically. Although if I'm completely honest, there is a part of me that still prays and dreams for this headache to go away and that even though I'm already dealing with the power surges of menopause, I'd love to have the experience of carrying a baby. I've told my little man that I didn't carry him under my heart but in it. We've now shortened that and we tell each other that he's my heart and I'm his. When we were preparing for his birth mother's visit last fall. He looked over at me from his seat in the car (It seems to always happen that he asks me some of the most difficult questions riding down the road when my attention needs to be on where we're going) and asked me if his birth mother could be his heart too.
I told him "YES" that one of the best gifts God gives us is our ability to love more than just a few people in our lives. In fact, the more we love it seems the more room we have to love. He was satisfied with that quick answer. I praise God for giving me the right words to say then. So many times I have foot in mouth disease and totally mess up.
Now that you've dealt with my rambling I'll get back to where I was actually headed with this. If I can feel such a strong desire an aching in my soul for a child I've not yet seen but only dream of, I marvel at what our heavenly Father deals with on a daily (eternal) basis, He gives us a choice to join His family. His desire to hold us close to his heart in his heart far out reaches my desire for a baby. Yet He waits... He waits for us to realize we need Him. He waits for us to choose Him as He has already chosen us. How His arms must ache when He watches us make choices that send us further from him instead of closer. Truly He is patient, He wants us to be His. He wants us to step into his arm and accept His love. Yet like in all families, there are steps to take to get there. Here in this world to adopt a child there is the paperwork, the homestudies, the interviews, Dr. check ups, and the fingerprinting. Have we done everything that's required so that we can bring that sweet baby/child into our home. God expects the same from us, we have steps to take to become a part of His eternal family, all must be complete and then we begin to work and love and grow together in God's family knowing He chose us to be His son/daughter. What joy, peace, and love comes from knowing we are chosen.
We know that we are loved with a love so great that our Father was willing to sacrifice His only Son so that we through Christs blood could be adopted into God's eternal family. The joy that comes when all the steps have been taken and the judge bangs his gavel and you know that the child you've been loving and caring for is now a part of your forever family is an awesome thing. But I'm sure that it pales in comparison to the joy that heaven rings with when God's children finally accept and follow the path set before us and become a part of His eternal family!
In adoption, the baby/child has done nothing deserving of the family he/she is placed with. It's the love and desire of the parents that bring him/her into the family. This is God's grace and mercy, I'm not deserving, there are no works I can do to earn my eternal home, yet God's grace His love opens wide the gate and invites me in...I just have to choose to accept His invitation

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why We Chose to Adopt

I've been working at how to write this post in my head for weeks now. It's so personal, so emotional, and yet at times both the most difficult and easiest thing to discuss. I guess I should begin withthe statement that adoptionwas not a foreign idea to us, but it was something that we considered would happen after we had our biological children. You know, we plan our lives out and even when we think we have God's will at it's center many times He moves us in unexpected directions.
When we first got married, I had a dream I carried in my heart and didn't even share with my sweetheart. It was my dream to walk accross the stage at graduation from college and receive my degree in my Math Ed. and be pregnant. It was a dream that almost really happened. I was doing my internship at a Jr. H.S., and every morning I would get soo sick at my stomache on the wayto school, smells in the cafeteria would bother me, etc. I really thought it was just nerves. But then I was late, and the excitement in my heart grew. In fact I was right at a month late, I'd bought the home pregnancy test, but didn't get the chance to use it. I know I miscarried that baby. At the time, I convinced my self that it was all for the best. (We didn't have health insurance andI'd just spent four years getting my degree and I needed to use it.) So we continued to work our plan, I taught for 6 years in the public school system to repay my scholarship loans and then we were going to try to get pregnant.
During that time, we lost my sister and cousin and almost every weekend was spent out of town to be with mama. The docs. agree that the stress of that year was probably the trigger that began the migraine. (They've also agreed that it's not that stress that has made this a continuous thing for the last 11 years. The therapists can agree that I'm dealing with the loss in a healthy manner). We spent 3 years searching for answers and medical solutions to the headache. I spent weeks at a time in the hospital being used as a guinnea pig. I've had more IV med "coctails" than I care to remember. We finally found a combonation that worked. I could once again make plans and pretty much do what I wanted. It was then, our dream of growing our family began to take root in our hearts again. We talked to my headache speacialist about what we'd need to do for me to be able to handle a pregnancy, and his answer was heartbreaking. I'd have to come off all the meds, be off them for 6 months and then during the pregnancy. It was not something we could do.(The prayers and tears encompassed in that one short sentence are unspeakable).So we decided to adopt. I can't begin to explain both the joy and heartache in that decision. It's a decision I would never go back and undo. My little man is one of God's most precious gifts to me. But in making that decision, I had to grieve the babies that I wanted to carry. The experience of feeling that little life growing inside and the joy of holding him/her close and nursing.
It's still a dream we (the three of us) carry in our hearts. My little man prays for the headache to go away because he wants a baby brother/sister so badly. Yet once again, we wait. We wait for God to show us what path we walk down. We wait to see the joy and the blessings that come with each new day. And maybe, just maybe we wait for the child God's chosen to be a part of our forever family, and my little man can know the joy (and frustrations)that come with siblings.
There is still so much to tell of our story but this is the beginning. And my little man is why I can be thankful for a 24/7 headache. For without it, I wouldn't have had the priveldge of loving him and his birth mother. God bless you.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Getting Stuck

I found myself this weekend saying several times that you couldn't pay me enough to go back and redo high school (and you couldn't),but given the opprotunity I'd go back and redo college over and over again. But that got me thinking would I really want to go back to those days,with only the life experiences I had then,etc...
There's a part of me that immediately says yes, because I'd get to relive some of the best times Jenny and I had as sisters. It was a time when we went from sibling rivalry to friendship. Those are days I treasure and pull outwhen I get to missing her and the memory of just what her voice sounded like begins to fade. But, I'm so thankful to have those first four rocky, learning years of my marriage behind me. A lot of those days were hard. My sweetheart worked very hard to help keep me in school, so he was tired and grouchy (not to mentionhe dealt with an uptight wife whofelt like perfection was the key at home and at school). So I'm thankful to have those rough years behind us and move into these last years were while all is not perfect, we can read each others moods, have some idea of what needs to be done for each other, and have the confidence that in the face of life's storms we'll weather them together.
Mama made a comment not to long ago that has made me sit and examine my heart. She said, "It seems like we're stuck in 1998." I've spent some time thinking about that and I agree. It's almost as if there are times when we can't give ouselves permission to keep moving forward. It's such the opposite of how Jenny and Willard lived their lives. They were always busy,looking for the next opprotunity, or thenext trip to go sit at the bookstore :-). So we've continued to live we've had children, watched mama and daddy play with the grandkids, continued to be artistic and create beautiful pieces of art. This is what shewould have wanted us to do. But there are days when I feel like I'm flung back to Jan. 1998. What a blessing it is to know that God keeps this old world moving even when I feel like it comes to a stand stiil. That time continues to pass and the joy found in remembering the funny stories outweighs the pain of the loss more often than it used to. I'm so thankful that I'm not in control of where I am in time but that God has that control. What wonderful blessings I would have missied out on for the fear of the pain that would come at the end. God is good,His love endures forever!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Growing in the Lord

My little man who is 7 is braver than I would have ever been. I was extremely shy and Mama and Daddy got me involved in Scouting to help with that, But I digress. Sunday night my sweet boy got up and led a song during our evening worship and then presented a short lesson on the faith of Abraham. The thoughts were all his. He read the scriptures for himself and drew conclusions from them. Between our preacher giving pointers and Daddy recording him as he spoke. His daddy was able to type of his lesson for him. What joy there is in watching God answer prayers we've been praying and continue to pray for him. He has a sweet tender heart and his ability to reason out God's word amazes me. (And I know I'm mama and I'm biased but he is amazing)
My sweetheart and I have loved and wanted to work with children even before we were married. We had it all planned out, we would have our own children almost grown at this point and we would have begun to foster newborns. We then would begin to foster younger children, and then teens after our children had left home. Well so far God has other plans, and we'll walk the path we've been given.
A prayer that both of us prayed was that if God would give us a baby we would do our best to return him to the Father. I'm so thankful that I don't have to do as Hannah did and literally leave hi at the temple to serve and see him only a few times. I've been blessed with a stubborn, mule-headed husband. You either love him or hate him. Once he makes his mind up it's rare to change it. But it's that determination I see growing in my little man. He wants to serve God with the same stubbornness and mule headedness that his Daddy has.
It's a special treat to see my little man stand in the pulpit to lead a song all by himself. He was 3 weeks old when his daddy took him to the front with him on a singing night to lead a song. I've been so blessed to watch my two boys lead songs from that point on. People in our area would comment on how my baby was growing based on how daddy held him for those singings. He eventually stood on the pulpit or a table down front with daddy holding those little legs. Now my big boy gets up all by himself, blows the note, starts the song, and sings out so the congregation can follow him, and once he's comfortable and his knees quit knocking he even beats time.
I'm blessed to be the wife of a man who takes his job as spiritual leader of our home seriously, and the mother of a son who loves both his earthly and heavenly father.
God is good, His love endures forever!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Throwing A Pity Party for Yourself.

I don't know about the rest of you out there, but any time I do something "good" the next day for me headache wise is basically a wash. The weather here was absolutely gorgeous and it was perfect for making a stop by the park on the way home. But -and I really do hate that word- the sun is so bright that I can't handle being out in it for long at a time. So that meant no trip to the park. For those of you who knew before the headache, you know I was someone who was constantly busy and loved it. The hardest part for me with headache is having to say no to the simple fun things that I used to do and so want to do now. So yesterday afternoon, as I sat in the pick-up line in my car with tinted windows and dark sunglasses with the sun shining in like a football field with all the lights on shining directly into my window I held a pity party for myself. I even stopped and picked up a vanilla steamer (wishing it could be hot chocolate but that's another thing the headache has taken from me) and went to sit in the pick up line waiting for my little man to get out of school. I gave myself permission to sit and cry and be pitiful for a while. Then spent sometime getting rid of the tears and working on pulling out my happy face. My baby deserves to see a happy mommy, and when he jumps in my car with his big sweet smile the joy rolls in. I guess the point I'm trying to make (if there really is a point today other than therapy for me)is it's OK to "mourn" the person you used to be, but try not to stay at the party too long. Find something or someone to do or take care of, even if it means just running through the drive-thru at McDonald's and picking up a Star Wars happy meal. May God bless you with a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How Chronic Pain Affects the Family

I so totally intended to start this blog business with our adoption story, but God seems to be steering me in another direction. When one person in a family deals with chronic pain, then the whole family does. It's important for the member dealing with pain to remember that all the emotions we feel about dealing with pain the rest of our family does to.
My sweet son is so tender hearted and does not like to see anyone hurt. He tends to befriend the underdog and will cry just looking at pictures of children who live w/o mommies and daddies and basic needs. I've said all that to say, that I have to remember to give him the room to be angry at the headache and sad when after all his praying and begging God for the headache to go away that it's still here.
He's had a tough time on both fronts over the last week. He wants mama to get in the floor and play and there are times I just can't bend over and get down on the floor to play (yes, we've offered the alternative of moving to the kitchen table but a Galactic Battle is just better in your own room with multiple places to hide your warriors :). After me telling him no and I had left the room, we heard him say "I hate that stupid headache." Daddy ever my protector, was ready to go take care of business and this was one of the few times I caught him and asked him to pretend we didn't hear. I hate this headache to and my Knight in Shining Armor has been working to slay that dragon with me for 11 years. Anger is a part of chronic pain it doesn't allow us to do what we want when we want.
Bedtime prayers is both my favorite and hardest part of he day. Since my little man turned three every night he prays for God to take away my headache really,really ....really soon. Sunday night, we came home from church and I made the off comment that my head was screaming at me. He was really tired to begin with, but he began to cry, then weep, and to mourn because he doesn't like seeing mama hurt (I promise I do my best to keep it out of conversation and to keep it from messing with my boys lives too much). He cried, I cried, and daddy cried, and we prayed. It's so hard to answer the why won't God take the headache away question. I struggle with that question as an adult. I guess our biggest challenge is to teach that this life really isn't that long when compared to eternity and to make the best of the good days, hours, and moments.To find the joy in all things and to find a way to use it all for God's glory.
This blog today is probably more therapy for me than any thing else. Thanks for allowing me to share with you. Please remember us in your prayers, we know that that is where the power is. Love to all.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Why I'm starting this blog.

I'm starting this blog with some misgivings and yet feel that I do have something to share.

  1. I am a New Testament Christian, and have been blessed to be raised in a home where God has always been the answer. Good, bad or ugly. Mama saw to that on a daily basis and Daddy reinforced it in his discussions over "coffee" at the local breakfast spot. Mama taught me how to pray and the power of it; and Daddy showed me you don't just sit around waiting for God to answer those prayers-you work and watch for His direction.

  2. I met my husband the summer I turned 14, married him 6 days after I turned 18,have shared the last 20 years and 7 months with him,and look forward to many more-Lord willing. He is my best friend, love of my life, and rock when all else seems to come crashing down around me. He truly is and has always been my Knight in shining armor.

  3. I've lost one of my sisters and a cousin to the poor choices of a Drunk Driver.

  4. I love math and taught for 13 years before the headache became more than I could/wanted to handle while being in the classroom. Yes, I'm one of those "crazy" people that gets excited if you start talking about solving equations and factoring.

  5. I've dealt with chronic pain for 11 years now. I have a 24/7 migraine level headache every second of every day. We live in the dark at our house (or at least in the room I happen to be in). The headache has become an unwelcome member of our family, yet it determines if and when family activities are carried out, who goes to the grocery store, and how much noise can be made in our home. Yet there have been many blessings that have come our way because of this headache.

  6. I'm the adoptive mama of a very beautiful/handsome 7 year old boy who has brought more joy and laughter into our home than I could ever have imagined when we began the adoption process almost exactly 8 years ago. We have been blessed by getting to know his birth mother (who happens to be one of the most courageous women I've ever met).

  7. Lastly, I want to find a way to help others and connect with people that I can't in the "real world" because of being home bound a great deal of the time now. So in some respect this will also be a therapeutic tool, so I can at least see if by sharing the pain and joy of my life just maybe I'll find some relief to the headache that is my constant companion.